memories of the ’80s – Somewhere in Time

Somewhere sheetr.jpgScience fiction and romance collided in this film that had a man searching for his ideal woman in the time travel movie Somewhere in Time.

Directed by Jeannot Szwarc, the screenplay was written by Richard Matheson, based on his science fiction novel Bid Time Return, which had been published by Viking in 1975.

The story unfolds as this: Richard Collier, a playwright, becomes obsessed with a woman’s photograph on display while visiting The Grand Hotel.

Richard, hoping to overcome his writer’s block, delves into the woman’s history by asking senior staff about the woman, who turns out to be an actress.

Realizing he had met the woman, an actress named Elise McKenna eight years previously, Richard discovers details of her life and falls in love with her.

Using the power of self-hypnosis and surrounding himself with early 20th century items, Richard transports himself back in time to 1912, to find Elise.

Played by Christopher Reeve (Richard) and Jane Seymour (Elise) with Christopher Plummer (as William Robinson, Elise’s manager), the story uses time travel as the way to transport the lovesick 1970s man to the arms of his lady love in 1912.

Released in October 1980, this film was a minor hit despite the negative reviews by critics which lambasted the romance story as weak and insipid. Because of an actors strike, the lead actors couldn’t promote the film, which came out the same week as The Blues Brothers.

Despite the lack of support in the media and changes from the  novel (which had set the story at the Hotel Coronado in California and the time period in the late 19th century), the film has inspired a regular event at The Grand Hotel every October with the International Network of Somewhere in Time Enthusiasts who gather in Edwardian dress to celebrate the film.

About Waheeda Harris

A pop culture junkie with a penchant for exploring our planet.
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